Forest & Veld 2

van Riebeeck's Hedge

Planted in 1660 as a boundary to the newly established Cape Colony by the first governor, Jan van Riebeeck, the trees used in the hedge, indigenous wild almonds, Brabejum stellatifolium, are characterised by their enormous intertwined branches and a tendency to grow horizontally as much as vertically. Although they do not look like proteas, they belong to the family and resemble the Australian macadamia nut. The nuts contain cyanide and are not edible unless specially treated by soaking and roasting, a technique discovered by the early Khoi inhabitants.

Fledgling Forest & Enchanted Forest

South of Mathew's Rockery and adjacent to van Riebeeck's Hedge is the section of Kirstenbosch cryptically referred to as Q Section by the Garden staff. It is a collection of trees mainly from the subtropical regions of eastern South Africa which grow very well on these warm north facing slopes of the Garden.

The Fledgling Forest, an area still under development, illustrates how a forest is started. Fast growing pioneer trees develop first, with the more permanent forest trees following in their shade.

The Enchanted Forest is a densely wooded path through the well grown forest where many sub-tropical ground covers, bulbs and herbaceous plants create a natural forest atmosphere. On the edge of the Enchanted Forest is an excellent specimen of the big tree aloe, Aloe barberae (until recently called Aloe bainesii). It towers some 18 meters and is a sight to see in late winter when it flowers. This section is home to many different animals and birds. The porcupine, Africa's largest rodent and destroyer of bulbous plants, is a regular visitor and the rare Cape Fox has also been seen here occasionally. There is evidence that the Grysbokke, who live mainly in the undeveloped parts of Kirstenbosch, also visit this section regularly. This is an excellent place for bird watching.


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